The Khoj-Khel-Bawarchi-Samachar Ideas
While the first idea is a good starting point, many times a second idea is needed to push the business forward. In early 1997, I too faced such a situation. I had lost IndiaWorld.com (the domain) and had restarted as IndiaWorld.co.in. Realising I needed a .com domain, I tried IndiaLine.com. Both were not working. Failure was staring at me. And all I could think of was: Not again. For five years after my return from the US, I had tried many ideas. None had succeeded. And now, I once again was on the brink. I needed something new.
Bhavana (my wife) and I were on our way back from Nakodaji to Jodhpur airport. Every year we would take a few days to visit temples in Rajasthan. Bhavana was also my partner in business. A CA by training, she had easily taken over content and operations, even as I tried to generate business from corporates for their websites. We were talking about how none of the names for the portal were working. And in a flash of insight, we hit upon the idea of using Indian names. We had been thinking of various vertical sites for search, cricket, food and news. The initial approach was to do them under IndiaWorld names – like Yahoo and other search engines were doing. But the IndiaWorld name itself was not working, we needed to think differently.
It was during that road journey that we came up with what became a collection of sites with Hindi names. Khoj, Khel, Bawarchi, Samachar, and many others. And did they work! Each became a brand by itself. Khoj became synonymous for India’s search engine, Khel was cricket, Bawarchi became popular for Indian recipes. And Samachar became the start page for millions of NRIs seeking Indian news. The simple idea of using Hindi names worked beyond our imagination. This was the idea that changed our fortunes and future.
As I look back, it was the adversity (not having the right domain) that created the opportunity (Hindi names as the domains). IndiaWorld was the idea that had gotten me going, but it was the quartet of Khoj-Khel-Bawarchi-Samachar that provided the booster shot. They became the brands that we became known by.
Ideas cannot stop. As an entrepreneur, one has to keep pushing. Sometimes, all it needs is one big idea – though one never knows when one is starting if it will really be big. (No entrepreneur starts off with a small idea.) At other times, it is a series of ideas which come together to create something big. Even now, as an entrepreneur, I always have a bunch of ideas floating in my head. They wrestle with each other and the best come through. Ideas have a life of their own; the entrepreneur is the instrument through which they see the light of day.